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Rasheed Wallace to Return? Agent Disputes Stephen A. Smith

Jan 11, 2011 – 4:20 PM
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Sam Amick

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This wasn't quite the same as Stephen A. Smith predicting the ultimate destination of LeBron James, but it did cause a mini-stir nonetheless.

The media personality told host Kevin Frazier on the Dan Patrick show that Rasheed Wallace would come out of retirement to join his old Boston Celtics teammates just in time for another deep playoff run.

"I'm here to tell you that Rasheed Wallace will come out of retirement once the (Feb. 24) trading deadlines expires in all likelihood, because he wants another shot at the Lakers," Smith said.

When pressed by Frazier to expound on the topic, Smith didn't back down from his statement, saying, "I'm telling you that's what Rasheed told me ... Rasheed Wallace."

As was the case with James and his decision to head for Miami, Smith could ultimately be proven right. But for now, Wallace's agent, Bill Strickland, said he has no reason to believe the 14-year big man is planning a comeback.

"I don't think that's the case -- for now anyway," Strickland told FanHouse. "He has a period of time to where he may be thinking about it, but he has not given me any indication of his intent to return. ... He's still saying that for now he's good, that he's OK where he is."

Which is the root of the speculation to begin with. Wallace still lives in the Boston area, and his recent sightings in the Celtics locker room and at team practices led to questions about whether he was plotting a return similar to that of P.J. Brown in 2008.

But the Celtics have the maximum 15 players on guaranteed contracts, meaning someone has to go if he is to rejoin his old mates. What's more, depth at the center spot -- from the soon-to-return Kendrick Perkins to Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal and Semih Erden -- is hardly their biggest problem even with the injuries their big men have faced.

Boston general manager Danny Ainge certainly didn't make a Wallace return sound likely in an interview with WEEI two weeks ago, saying, "I'm not sure there's room for Rasheed unless we just have a whole bunch of injuries."

Even Smith may have realized how unlikely it is, as he revealed on Twitter after his radio interview that the conversation with Wallace that he was referring to took place "months ago." (Read here and here.)

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Filed under: Sports